The 18th Century Polish-American general Casimir Pulaski was either female or intersex, researchers say.
Scientists first found that Pulaski’s skeleton had female characteristics about 20 years ago, but were unable to prove it was definitely him.
But DNA testing has now confirmed the female skeleton was indeed Pulaski’s.
Their findings will be set out in a Smithsonian Channel documentary, called “America’s Hidden Stories: The General Was Female?” on 8 April.
How did they study his skeleton?
Pulaski’s bones had been kept in a metal container underneath a monument in Savannah, Georgia – so when the monument was temporarily removed about two decades ago, researchers were able to exhume and study his skeleton.
Charles Merbs, who was a forensic anthropologist at Arizona State University at the time, told ASU Now that he examined the bones with forensic scientist Dr Karen Burns from the University of Georgia.
“Dr Burns said to me before I went in, ‘go in and don’t come out screaming’,” he says. “She said study it very carefully and thoroughly and then let’s sit down and discuss it.
“I went in and immediately saw what she was talking about. The skeleton is about as female as can be.”
How did they confirm it was Pulaski?
After this, they had to prove that the bones did in fact belong to Pulaski and that they…